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Best Practices and Lessons Learned on Our IBM Rational Insight Deployment


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Best Practices and Lessons Learned on Our IBM Rational Insight Deployment

  1. 1. The premiere software and product delivery event. June 6–10 Orlando, Florida Best Practices & Lessons Learned on Our Insight Deployment Rational Unleash The Labs June 7th, 2010 Rick Weaver, Director, Unleash The Labs Marc Nehme, Rational Specialist, Unleash The Labs
  2. 2. Unleash The Labs - Who We Are  Central point of contact within the Rational Development organization  Situations: pre-sales, post-sales, PoC, PoT, implementations, demonstrations, Product Management requests  Improve communications and alignment between Rational Development and the Rational field  Manage customer interactions, engagements, opportunities  Engage appropriate teams to ensure customer success
  3. 3. Our Objectives  Improve ROI by moving to an automated reporting process  Improve visibility across our organization – Identify high priority objectives  Have a central location where metrics are accessible  Create ”On-Demand” & Trend reports  Create multiple views/levels of our reports  Drink our own champagne, Tell our story, Demonstrate success with Rational Insight
  4. 4. Reporting Challenges  Organizational unity & process  Various data sources  Disparate data sources  Individual product (distinct) reporting solutions  Lack of functionality/express  Training & resources  Manual data manipulation  Overall manual process  Effort/time required Manual Data Project Data Headcount & Financials Rational TeamConcert Rational Quality Manager Rational ClearQuest
  5. 5. Rational Insight’s Value BEFORE AFTER CQ CQ DW & Report Server Staff Organization Portal Data Source 1) Export Data 2) Massage data & Create reports 3) Create presentation slides 4) Create email to stakeholders Stakeholders Organization Portal Data Source Stakeholders “On-Demand” Access Insight Portal Automated Integration Staff focuses on other tasks
  6. 6. Our Results - Live Dashboards
  7. 7. Our Results - Trend Dashboards
  8. 8. Our Results – Other Metrics
  9. 9.  Moved from an 80% manual reporting process to an 80% automated reporting process  Migrated ALL of our major reports to IBM Rational Insight  Saved about 40 work hours per month  Saved IBM $$$ “Through the automation and dashboard capabilities in Insight, our team is saving about 40 hours a month on our reporting activities. Wealso can offer new capabilities such as “on-demand” dashboards which would have been very labor intensive to do without Insight” Rick Weaver, Program Director of “IBM Rational Unleash the Labs” Since leveraging IBM Rational Insight for our reporting processes, we have: Our Organization’s Savings
  10. 10. Phased Approach to Success Crawl Walk Run  Focus on key/core requirements and set a goal to achieve those objectives  With the future picture in mind, create a foundational structure for your business  Requirements may not all be created before deployment - Your first results will spawn new requirements  Start with one data source, one business area, one set of reports
  11. 11. Phased Approach to Success Crawl Walk Run  For initial deployment and enablement, start with the simplest use case reporting - Run through Live data reporting process (XDC, FM, QS)  Data Warehouse – ODS (DM, RS)  Data Warehouse – Data marts  The MCIF approach is a systematic iterative approach for measurably improving capability, aligned with business goals and objectives
  12. 12. Best Practices / Lessons Learned Insight improves data capturing  Insight will highlight high-level analytics, but also drill down to lower level detail  This will show how well your organization is following your data capturing process  Be prepared to make some tweaks to the source data schemas and process to accommodate for certain data achievements in Insight  Source data needs to be accurate as inaccurate or incomplete data can disrupt the Insight reports  Misleading data, empty reports, etc
  13. 13. Best Practices / Lessons Learned Insight Deployment Management  Identify atleast two people to own/manage the deployment  Developer role – Back end work: product integration, data extraction, data transformation, Data Warehouse loading, Data modeling  Report Author – Front end work: Dashboard/report designs, everything the end user will see
  14. 14. Best Practices / Lessons Learned Deployment tips  Always stay on latest fixpack  Maintain test environment  Take regular backups of reports/dashboards via the Cognos homegrown tool (Content Administration)  Importing work into other environments is transparent to/independent of the backend database
  15. 15. Best Practices / Lessons Learned Deployment tips  Keep the Data Services Server on a machine other than the Report Server Data Services Server Report Server & Database Server & Developer tools ClearQuest Server Unleash The Labs Deployment Topology
  16. 16. Best Practices / Lessons Learned Deployment tips  Report Server/Database Server  Dual Core Processor (2.x+ Ghz)  4GB RAM  Free hard disk space varies on anticipated size of Data Warehouse (minimum 10GB)  Data Services Server  Dual Core Processor (2.x+ Ghz)  4GB RAM (just CQ client & adapter installed)  Free hard disk space: Minimum 10GB
  17. 17. Best Practices / Lessons Learned Deployment tips Data Services Server Report Server ClearQuest Server Best Practice Topology ReqPro Server RQM Server ETL Server Database Server
  18. 18. Best Practices / Lessons Learned Deployment Performance Tweaks  Behavior: First report of the day seems to take a bit longer to execute – the following reports seem much more efficient  Likely Cause: BIBusTKServerMain.exe not initialized – the process takes time to initialize when no activity (report server process). Two processes needed for interactive reporting  Solution: Increase the idleTimeLimitSec to a longer period (default is 900 seconds) in reportservice.xml file  <installdir>cognoswebappsp2pdWEB-INFservices  <installdir>AppServerprofilesRationalInsightinstalledApp ssma-unleashNode01CellIBM Cognos 8.earp2pd.warWEB-INFservices
  19. 19. Best Practices / Lessons Learned Deployment Performance Tweaks  Behavior: Reports are hanging and never execute  Possible Cause 1: AIO function in WAS – there are several issues which the asynchronous input/output transfer code might expose  Solution 1: Disable AIO  Renames or delete these two files: ibmaio.dll & ibmaiodbg.dll located here: <installdir> AppServerbin
  20. 20. Best Practices / Lessons Learned Deployment Performance Tweaks  Behavior: Reports are hanging and never execute  Possible Cause 2: WAS thread pool size not large enough  Solution 2: Increase WAS thread pool size from default 10 to 25 threads  WAS console > Servers > Application Servers > RationalInsightServer > Additional Properties > Thread Pools > WebContainer  Warning: Doing this AND disabling AIO will cause your Insight web portal to become inaccessible
  21. 21. Best Practices / Lessons Learned  Prior to setting up an extraction from a new data source, its important that a person understands the basics of the data source’s purpose, what it is capturing, and its schema, so that you know how to structure the data Insight Knowledge
  22. 22. Best Practices / Lessons Learned  Where applicable, utilizing the out of the box models is very helpful in avoiding rework  We saved a good amount of time leveraging the development team’s effort of creating data models and ETL jobs Insight Knowledge
  23. 23. Best Practices / Lessons Learned  In Data Manager, it is good to understand the OOTB fact builds and lookup tables and what they do – avoids alot of rework  Know and review the the OOTB DW tables so that when developing, you’ll be familiar with the tables and fields captured Insight Knowledge
  24. 24. Best Practices / Lessons Learned  Prior Cognos experience a plus, but not required  Start Query Studio – move to Report Studio Insight Reporting  Use the OOTB reports as as guide and an enablement tool  Help Index, Google, trial & error – face time  Practice makes perfect !
  25. 25. Best Practices / Lessons Learned  Start with learning formatting, filters, and aggregates  Move to parameter passing, prompts, and multiple query reports Insight Reporting – Best Practices
  26. 26. Best Practices / Lessons Learned  Contain the number of Live reports on any given dashboard – load times could be painful and the servers may get overloaded at times  Create generic drill through (target) reports that can be linked to, from several front end reports, using parameter passing - time saver Insight Reporting – Best Practices
  27. 27. Best Practices / Lessons Learned  World Map report works great for geographic distribution of workloads & headcount and is a big attraction to viewers  Pie charts & bar charts with associated drill-through reports were key for our deployment Insight Reporting – Lessons Learned
  28. 28. Best Practices / Lessons Learned  Conditional formatting was very useful to identify high-priority objectives  Helped raise awareness with immediate notification of critical situations  “Watch Rules” provide automated notification Insight Reporting – Lessons Learned
  29. 29. Best Practices / Lessons Learned  Leverage the multi-product integration capability of Insight – Adapter, REST, ODBC  Integrating with Excel can be helpful and painless if crucial data is stored in xls sheets and is needed to be reported on in Insight  Create tables in Excel sheet, integrate with Insight via ODBC driver, business as usual Insight Reporting – Lessons Learned
  30. 30. Best Practices / Lessons Learned  Set aside time (account for) testing and debugging of reports/deployment when scoping your work  Some of the Cognos tools (Data Manager, Report Studio, etc) have been out for years before Insight’s release - there are a number of public resources available to you  Stay connected with the Insight community as most likely there is someone out there who has faced the challenges you may be facing General Tips
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